Action Plan for 282-285 Ontario Street 

The City has launched a comprehensive action plan in response to numerous concerns from residents related to the former industrial property at 282-285 Ontario Street. Since January 2020 we’ve been working on numerous items to mitigate concerns related to environmental protection, trespassing and safety at the site of the former auto part manufacturing site. We aren’t sitting back, we’re working to keep  our city safe, clean and healthy.

Challenges and Limitations

There are challenges and limitations that have prevented the City from more fulsome action. Like any private property, the City can’t unilaterally act to clean up the site. We can only go through legal channels to ensure the current owner adheres to City by-laws; and work with other levels of government, such as the Ministry of Environment, to ensure other regulations are observed.

What We Have Done So Far

Since the initiation of an action plan to mitigate concerns began in January 2020 we have taken numerous steps within our scope of authority to offset concerns with the site.

So far we have:

  • Taken steps to prosecute the current landowner over alleged infractions to the Building Code and Fire Code Act
  • Retained external legal support to advise Council and staff on Provincial legislation, legal precedents and case law that would allow for City-led cleanup and demolition of a privately-owned industrial site, and how costs could be recouped
  • Retained a security company to perform perimeter patrols to prevent trespassing
  • Successfully directed the property owner to inspect and repair perimeter fencing and window boarding
  • Engaged the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) for PCB testing and analysis on the 12 Mile Creek upstream and downstream of the site:
    • February testing noted no concerns with the general chemistry, volatile organic compound, and acid base neutral (semi-volatile) results
    • February testing found there are some exceedances of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at one or two of the sources tested but no impact was indicated at the downstream testing locations
    • The MOECP noted findings were typical of urban storm runoff, and has been engaged to perform further testing during a non-runoff period
  • Worked with the MOECP to conduct upwind and downwind air particulate monitoring in August and September of 2020; samples are still being analyzed
  • Contacted the MOECP about asbestos risks associated with the site, with the Ministry of Labour stating no concerns until work begins on the site
  • Passed By-Law No. 2020-106 prohibiting the use of certain lands for disposal of waste, including inoperative machinery, construction materials and industrial and commercial waste; providing for new avenues of prosecution

Additional Efforts

In 2020, Municipal Works staff have undertaken nine visits to the properties for grass cutting and weed clearing and By-law Enforcement staff have undertaken 4 visits to the property for graffiti complaints. A contractor has been brought in twice to remove graffiti on the site. These efforts have been invoiced to the property owner and if not paid, added to the tax bill for the lands.

The City has previously commenced legal action against the owner with respect to the noncompliance with Fire Code and Building Code Orders arising from the conditions of the site. This has not progressed due to the closure of the Provincial Offences Court. It will proceed once the courts start rescheduling matters postponed due to the COVID public health emergency.

Further Information

For further information please review the following documents related to ongoing efforts to address safety, health and property concerns at the site.

Sept. 25 , 2020 Status Update Memorandum

July 22, 2020 Status Update Memorandum

July 16, 2020 Surface Water Testing Results

May 6, 2020 Status Update Memorandum

March 9, 2020 Status Update Memorandum

Feb. 27, 2020 Update from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Feb. 24, 2020 Status Update Memorandum

Feb. 20, 2020 Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Correspondence

If you see something, say something

Residents can assist by reporting suspicious, dangerous or criminal activity at the site to the Niagara Regional Police. If you witness a crime in progress, such as break and enters, trespassing or graffiti, please call 911.

 

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines